This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

Is Your Job About To Be Outsourced By A Computer (The Probability Is 47%)

Tyler Durden's picture


Productivity. Every employer loves it, and every employee is fascinated by it, especially if it comes in cute colors, a retina screen, and weighs under a pound... at least until such time as "productivity" results in the loss of the employee's job, which in turn makes the employer love it even more as it results in even higher profits, even if it means one more pink slip and a 91 million people outside the labor force.

With a labor force already in turmoil as millions drop out every year never to be heard from again, made obscolete by the latest technological and computerized innovation, and students stuck in college where they pile up record amounts of student loans (at last check well over $1 trillion) hoping form some job, any job, upon graduation, unfortunately the future is not bright at all.

In a recently published paper, "The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation," Oxford researchers Frey and Osborne, look at the probability of computerization by occuption. What they find is shocking for nearly half of the US labor force, and especially those in the transportation, production, office support, sales, service and extraction professions.

JPM's Michael Cembalest summarizes it as follows:

Life after college: be prepared for technology to continue changing the job landscape

There’s plenty of data on unemployment rates and salaries by undergraduate major (the majors with the lowest unemployment rates and highest salaries: computer, chemical, electrical, civil and mechanical engineering; math/physics; and economics. Drama and film majors are a recipe for living at home). A more important long-run issue to think about may be how technology affects your career. Researchers at Oxford just published an analysis assessing what jobs might be computerized in the future. Their conclusion: a staggering 47% of the US workforce, spanning a range of career types. There are vigorous debates about outsourcing, but increasingly, computerization may grow as a factor affecting employment conditions.



In The Man in the White Suit, Alec Guinness invents a suit that never has to be cleaned or replaced. London’s tailors and dry cleaners angrily chase him down in the street  to destroy his invention. They are relieved when the suit finally starts to unravel, since the fiber’s design is flawed. Productivity improvements are great things, but there might be a point at which too much power shifts to capital over labor. Anyway, when you think about a career, remember that in some professions, eventually a computer might be able to do it too, or reduce the economic value of you doing it (e.g., the impact of the internet on print journalism).

The good news: those iPad apps are cheap, and most unemployed workers - who were put out of a job thanks to one - can afford them. The bad news: anyone lamenting the return of America's employment golden age, is kindly encouraged to exhale.


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:36 | 4237377 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Won't happen to me, I'm unexpendable

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:39 | 4237392 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Alec Guinness invents a suit that never has to be cleaned or replaced.

How about underwear that never has to be cleaned or replaced.

Never worry about shit!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:44 | 4237419 negative rates
negative rates's picture

The profits on that maintenance free make up kit are payin dividends now. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:59 | 4237481 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



MSFT up 40% YTD.  This is the short opportunity of a lifetime. 

This company blows goats. 

Office is now an annual fee, not a purchase.  Trying to purchase a copy is harder than signing up for Obamacare.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:01 | 4237492 outamyeffinway
outamyeffinway's picture

LibreOffice is a GO!!! Can anyone spell L-I-N-U-X?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:08 | 4237517 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

and OpenOffice. 

The rout has been on for a while.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 22:21 | 4238486 markmotive
markmotive's picture

Probability that porn gets outsourced to a computer = 0%

Note to self...move to LA.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 22:48 | 4238553 flacon
flacon's picture

"Productivity improvements are great things, but there might be a point at which too much power shifts to capital over labor."


Karl Marx for everyone else - this is exactly the problem that Marx addressed in the COMMUNE(ist) mANIFESTO:


We are going to get global COMMUNE(ism), where we all inheret the earth - KARL MARX STYLE! 



Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:30 | 4238636 Crisismode
Crisismode's picture

Wait until you need a plumber to fix your burst pipes.


Can't see a 3D-printer doing that for you.

Or, an outsource from Banglahore.

Nope, gotta be a Joe-SixPack that comes to your house.

Unless, you have a better substitution.


Thu, 12/12/2013 - 01:01 | 4238801 flacon
flacon's picture

Ticker symbol "NYSE:BPD" (Burst Pipe Derivatives) will solve all your problems though some sort of re-insurance plan. Just don't ask me how it works, but I got rich off it! /sarc

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:23 | 4237589 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

This is the year of Linux on the desktop!!!1eleventyone11

I don't think I'll be outsourced anytime soon. According to my wife, my main job is to empty the litter box. I haven't yet seen the lines of perl or C# which can do that.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:27 | 4237602 malikai
malikai's picture

That sounds like a job just begging to be outsourced.

Have kids?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:40 | 4237624 giggler321
giggler321's picture

I've got news for you; the probability that we're all in a simulation is greater than 99% which means all our jobs are done by computer.  The difference is only where, in simulation or in simulator. (Nick Bostrom)

Possibility 3.  The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one.
If (3) is true, then we almost certainly live in a simulation.

Ofcourse 1 or 2 or 3 take your pick as either way we're f***ed

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:19 | 4237970 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

The jobs high on the list to be computerized are all bullshit nine-to-five office jobs that don't mean a fuck: Service, Office and Administrative Support, Sales.  These are all the "jobs" that we can effing do without, and are mostly populated with single moms / angry feminists / other useless parasitic, entitled drones.  Ask any guy (if you can find one) who still works in an "office".

Make something, for Christ's sake, you useless fucking paper pushers.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:54 | 4238254 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

In the book: "Automate This" Chris Steiner mentions how in the PAST few years several things have been autmated.  Such as Song writing, Pharmacists, and other various professions.  Great Book!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:35 | 4238364 Shocker
Shocker's picture

Good possiblity, just look at the Current Job Market


Thu, 12/12/2013 - 04:10 | 4238936 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Automated drug distribution systems certainly save time and provide a very cost-effective 24/7 service, PROVIDED that they themselves are appropriately resupplied. There are a LOT of Hospital Pharmacists that would be very happy to have the repetitive, "stick a label on a bottle" task replaced by a machine, so they can then use their 5 year Degree skills as they should be using them - to provideenhanced-value Clinical rather than Supply services, something that machines (following pre-programmed "guidelines") are currently very poor at doing.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 00:22 | 4238742 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

+1 SWR

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:04 | 4238583 chemystical
chemystical's picture

Oy, no anger issues there.  Try some therapy.  That hasn't been fully outsourced yet, but existing "shrink in a box" models would use your input to conclude that your a conflicted misogynist.  You'd like to love women but their repeated rejection of you points you in the other direction.  Your reaction to their rejection then serves only to reinforce their rejections as you confirm their suspicions. 

Do you order your own toilet paper, or does a sensor detect the usage rates of you and your colleagues and then derive an order pattern that is programmed into a dedicated intranet between TP R Us and your widget co? 

My experience is that employees who think that legal, environmental, purchasing, supply chain, S&R, QC, R&D, mfg, acctg, etc etc (anyone except them) are useless....are typically those who have never been involved in upper management and can't see beyond their cubicle. 

The key is to use each function efficiently.  Legal?  They are risk management.  Environmental, Health and Safety?  Ditto...except for the few enterprises who truly believe in being a good neighbor/supplier/employer...and for those who don't: "Let me introduce you to Legal (who work with the beancounters to decide the relationship between dead babies and profit)".  Etc, etc.  Integrating the parts is probably not your forte.  Stick to misogeny from left field.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 08:37 | 4239103 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

All hail the regulatory state and all of the cost-only make-work office jobs it adds.  This is the same regulatory state from whence flows all the power of the state.  The same regulatory state that doesn't care if you are able to do anything or make anything or not.

All that matters is that you comply.  And these angry, determined, self-important denizens of the regulatory state will make sure that your life is miserable while you are simply trying to earn a living.  Thst is, of course, unless you hire your own, similar army of compliance-ensurers who also dont care if you are able to do anything or make anything, as long as you let them do their jobs.  And the surest way to comply is to do nothing and make nothing.


Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:14 | 4239509 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

Nobody needs to do payroll in the US if the jobs are moved to some 'low cost center' anyways, right?  So the haters of the 'paper pushers' won't have to worry about it much longer after TPP is passed neither will the US based 'useless paper pushers'  ... but please everyone, keep shopping.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:00 | 4237714 Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

The NSA is right now working on a robot that could grab the cat by the neck, and insert a vacuum nozzle into its ass, and suck out the contents.  By version 2.0 it will be capable of sedation.  Your days are numbered, pal.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:52 | 4238055 Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas's picture

Better yet, with that C# experience you should be able to code an Arduino to control a stepper motor controller to fish the turds out with a rake, sure it'll be a 150 dollar kitty box, but hey it's automated! Or wait, have a controller drop a beer into an RC car that follows tape right to your lazy boy, my excuse is I that I don't want to saw holes into my fridge yet heh.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:33 | 4238360 pavman
pavman's picture

Give me half a billion dollars to make a website and by tootin... not only will it clean out your litter box, but it'll make you breakfast *every morning*

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:24 | 4237796 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"Office is now an annual fee, not a purchase."

Your not missing anything. Since MS-Office 2002, MS has been dropping features left and right. Every newer version costs more, and you get less features, which is the exact opposite of Moore's law. Unfortunately MS isn't alone as Adobe and probably other software companies are doing the same by moving to the cloud and/or software subscriptions.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:36 | 4238371 pavman
pavman's picture

This was Bill Gate's dream spooge like 10 - 15 years ago.  He even wrote about it.  Its all about turning everyone into slaves with no property ownership.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 00:04 | 4238706 post turtle saver
post turtle saver's picture

it's the short opp of a lifetime because it looks like they're going to hire the current Ford CEO to take over from Ballmer... lol, yeah that's the ticket

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:58 | 4237488 outamyeffinway
outamyeffinway's picture

Moral of the story: don't open a business in the US unless you're an exporter.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:23 | 4237792 Wyatt Junker
Wyatt Junker's picture

We need a new jobs stimulus.  This time with a French tickler attached.

An EMP should do the trick. 

No more 'puters. 

Humans needed again.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:04 | 4237936 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

But could BitCoins and the EMP go out on a jDate?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:23 | 4238149 PT
PT's picture

We don't need jobs, we need production.  Unfortunately, too few people understand this.  Too few people can handle the transition.  Not enough people can handle free time.   And no-one understands that we will have to re-think distribution.

In the meantime:
"Good news.  We sacked all our employees.  Bonuses all round." 
"Bad news.  Someone else sacked all our customers.  Whoever would have known?  Unpredictable!" 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:39 | 4238373 pavman
pavman's picture

I really want to buy a factory, you know to make stuff.  Know anyone selling? An old rundown one'll do... I'd prefer not to have to move to Michigan tho...

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 02:54 | 4238900 mkkby
mkkby's picture

I'll never lose my job.  The bastards NEED my TPS report every morning...  with THE CORRECT COVER SHEET.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:17 | 4239525 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

'free trade' was always supposed to be a one-way street right?  What could possibly go wrong?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:07 | 4238593 chemystical
chemystical's picture

What if you opened a business that outsources patriotism? 

I have a catchy name for it:  Congress.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:24 | 4243512 PT
PT's picture

First they outsource the blue collar workers.
Then they outsource the white collar workers.
Then they outsource the CEOs.
Then they outsource the politicians. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:06 | 4237507 RSloane
RSloane's picture

This is going to present a very serious problem to the US. Automation technology engineers are working to replace low cost, low wage, no skilled or low skilled workers. We will swing from trying to unionize McDonalds to no jobs at McDonald's save for two per shift. There is going to be nowhere for low-skilled workers living in large inner cities to go. Small businesses may still hire them for part time work, but that's about it. They just won't have anywhere to go.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:22 | 4237586 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"This is going to present a very serious problem to the US. Automation technology engineers are working to replace low cost, low wage, no skilled or low skilled workers"


Automation technology engineers are working on replacing all jobs.  It is just going to take time.  With 7 billion people on the planet, technology is changing at a rapid pace, with so many working on technological solutions.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:43 | 4237875 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

I'm not that worried, in my experience technology seldom works as advertised. I believe we are at least hundred of years before most jobs get replaced by computers. When computer programs can actually make functioning much less flawless programs that don't need constant updating (then still don't function), I will be worried.

To me, the story of restaurants replacing waitresses with automated machines was not as revolutionary as most seemed to think. WaWa has this technology now and there is still a sandwich maker and still a cashier. In more upscale "restaurants" (more upscale than they may be able to get rid of all the waitresses and have bus boys deliver the food, but I doubt most people want the bus boy to be the ones dropping off their food (I'm in the northeast [habla espanol?]). Realistically busboys and a few waitresses would be the ones to lose their jobs. Think about it, if you could order drinks through automated systems how many more you would order. How many times does a waitress walk by you as you try to get his/her attention. With a computer, it will be as easy as pressing a few buttons.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:56 | 4238063 Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas's picture

Or when they can build a robot good enough and cheap enough to send into a hole to dig crap out as opposed to some poor third world kid, that's when we're in big trouble.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:22 | 4238337 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

"I believe we are at least hundred of years before most jobs get replaced by computers."

Telephone switchboard operators will celebrate this prediction.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 14:15 | 4240333 fallout11
fallout11's picture

Actually, it took almost 100 years to replace telephone switchboard operators via technology (1880's-1970's).

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 06:14 | 4239008 Kiwi Pete
Kiwi Pete's picture

Check out this very readable online story by Marshall Brain (the creator of,then sold for $250mil). Two very different futures, and we're rapidly approaching the turn in the road.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:26 | 4237594 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Well, either way the military needs cannon fodder.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:52 | 4237681 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

"Commence Operation Human Shield."

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:11 | 4237745 cro_maat
cro_maat's picture

The Zionists need warm (and free) organs to harvest as well.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:07 | 4238301 Dr. Kenneth Noi...
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's picture

And now, the follow on forces: Operation Stand Behind The Darkies!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:00 | 4237713 Cannon Fodder
Cannon Fodder's picture

Did someone call me? lol...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:36 | 4237622 Cast Iron Skillet
Cast Iron Skillet's picture

wonder how long it will take until most of the automation technology engineers are locate in China or India?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:52 | 4237680 acetinker
acetinker's picture

A former boss once said, "The factory of the future will be populated by only two individuals- a man and a dog.  The man will take care of the dog, and the dog will make sure the man doesn't fuck with the equipment."

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:40 | 4238374 pavman
pavman's picture

save for two per shift.

But at least the minimum wage will be a liveable wage for those *two* employees!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:19 | 4238616 chemystical
chemystical's picture

In the short-term at least (10 yrs), we've done very well with an ongoing automation program at my division.  Total employment has held steady but production and sales have doubled.  Some employees have been given the sack but others have not been replaced; their skills have been used elsewhere.  Not everyone can do this because total market demand has not doubled during the same period, but fuck everyone else, we're capitalists and are providing the market with the best and lowest cost product.

Yeah, Jeff Bezos might displace a UPS driver with the delivery by drone project, but he'll create a job for another dockworker and a few more at the drone mfr and some at the drone battery company, and...

Making the end to end system more efficient isn't necessarily mutually exclusive of static or increased employment.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:44 | 4237425 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

won't happen to me.

I cannot be computerized.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:49 | 4237453 Debugas
Debugas's picture

how about underwear for one time use ?

mass production can make it cheaper to produce than to wash

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:29 | 4238162 PT
PT's picture

It ain't really the tailors going out of business that is the problem.  The trouble starts as people forget how to make clothing.  You need a nice portion of people that do this for fun, just to keep the skills available to society.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:39 | 4237396 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Buddy, can you spare a bitcoin?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:41 | 4237398 akak
akak's picture

BitcoinFoneHome stated:

Won't happen to me, I'm unexpendable

And also unendurable.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:45 | 4237655 HulkHogan
HulkHogan's picture

I don't understand the chart or the word unendurable.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:08 | 4237944 Exponere Mendaces
Exponere Mendaces's picture


if(akak.value.add == true)


    post.smarmy.comment(" %Source_String%" + "%Smarmy_Reply%");





Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:27 | 4238631 chemystical
chemystical's picture




Thu, 12/12/2013 - 02:57 | 4238902 401K of Dooom
401K of Dooom's picture

You forgot to put in:


# stdio.h



Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:22 | 4238977 Acet
Acet's picture

That's not C: notice the x.y.z chained object field access.

Looks like Perl 5


Also in C it would've been #include <stdio.h>


PS: On the article subject, my job won't be outsourced to computers quite yet.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:29 | 4237491 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

One bitcoin fluffer is as good as the next.

But you does got a pretty mouth.  *spits*

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:13 | 4237543 tempo
tempo's picture

My 21+ year old grandson has never worked a day in his life spending his entire life being told he is special and entitled. Now with a C- average without a college major living on student aid, food stamps and Obama care he has a new plan. He is contacting all relatives asking for a co signer so he can continue his pampered lifestyle. Worse case he will move back home where he expects his Mom to support him by working 2 part time jobs w/o benefits. He is angry at the injustice in America. BTW he is a minority so don't mess with him.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:20 | 4237579 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

C- average ain't bad in Keynesland.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:58 | 4237702 lance_manion
lance_manion's picture

Good enough to be President!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:15 | 4237761 cro_maat
cro_maat's picture

He sounds like the perfect candidate for TSA block captian.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:26 | 4237583 autofixer
autofixer's picture

There are plenty of jobs in Chile, Peru, Brasil. He'll toughen up after they beat him up 5 or 6 times.  By your screen name it looks like he speaks Portuguese and could probably pick up Spanish muito rapido, so he'll have a leg up on my son. I'm a velho gringo that taught myself Portuguese but I can't get my son to get off of the video games long enough to learn um poco.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:52 | 4237678 DYS
DYS's picture

There are jobs in those countries but also a tight knit network of people who are better connected than the foreigners at getting those jobs.    Expect to take a while to make your own network.   Don't drop in uninvited.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:49 | 4237894 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

That tends to happen in this country as well.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:55 | 4237692 Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

OK, fine, we will go and shoot him just to shut you up.  Where does he live?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:29 | 4237819 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"My 21+ year old grandson has never worked a day in his life spending his entire life"

You had me in agreement until I read this " BTW he is a minority so don't mess with him."

I am pretty sure his group is by far a super majority.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:13 | 4237955 Surging Chaos
Surging Chaos's picture

I just checked your posting history. You copypaste this EXACT thing on every comments section you post in, give or take a few minor edits to change your grandson's age or shit like that. For that I'm giving you a nice red arrow for attempting to farm green arrows. This isn't Reddit.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:47 | 4238392 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture

He's probably a python script.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:33 | 4238006 ZH11
ZH11's picture

At least the second time I've read this comment in the last few weeks. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:07 | 4238090 vulcanraven
vulcanraven's picture

This was informative the first time I read it, after the 50th time... not so much.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:29 | 4238169 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

How many times are you going to post this on different threads?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:33 | 4238643 chemystical
chemystical's picture

You might be onto something.  Some grad students pursuing multiple degrees were pejoratively referred to as 'lifetime students', but doesn't the student loan program have a provision that you start paying back the loan after you withdraw or graduate.  And if you're always in school pursuing another degree...........?  I coulda been 90 yrs old and keeled over while attending lecture for my 40th degree, and with proper estate planning my kids could tell Uncle Obama that he's free to collect from my zero dollar estate.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:44 | 4238667 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


My 21+ year old grandson has never worked a day in his life spending his entire life being told he is special and entitled.

So you did as bad a job raising him as you did raising your daughter.

Fuck off, granny, nobody cares about you or your imaginary grandson.

If he really exists, though, I hope he murders  you with a screwdriver.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:56 | 4238680 akak
akak's picture

My 21+ year old grandson can beat your 21+ year old grandson's World of Warcraft ass.


"I'm a dedicated Wal-Mart shopper, and I vote!"

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:39 | 4237636 optimator
optimator's picture

You must be a plumber, electrician, or in some other trade.  If you're good at it you can name your own price.  Even better if you're in business for yourself and can do under the table.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:52 | 4237908 Jendrzejczyk
Jendrzejczyk's picture


Thu, 12/12/2013 - 00:04 | 4238707 tempo
tempo's picture

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 00:07 | 4238714 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

This is the most sensible comment ever made by tempo.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:48 | 4239419 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

Not my job but I'd love to see how a robot will replace a plumber.  


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:36 | 4237384 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Economies are about people, aren't they?

No simple solutions here, but something has to give if this goes on.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:05 | 4237513 RSloane
RSloane's picture

No, economies are not about people, they are about the viability of the state.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:06 | 4237518 Dugald
Dugald's picture


 Its the Oozalum Bird syndrome, flies in ever decreasing circles until it disappears up its own fundamental orifice.  Imagine billions of items for sale and only hundreds with cash to buy.....gosh we are such clever people....... 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:25 | 4238341 g speed
g speed's picture

you completely miss the point of the system--- the 1% will just buy everything-- and everyone else will have less--giving meaning to the concept of being "richer than you"

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:01 | 4237717 NihilistZero
NihilistZero's picture

What will give is asset prices in real terms once this hits terminal velocity.  Destroy the proles and you destroy the bubble economy.  Not just velocity of money, but velocity of EVERYTHING will screech to a halt.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:37 | 4237387 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

So... sounds like inefficiency is good for the economy.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:51 | 4237456 KCMLO
KCMLO's picture

But efficiency is good for the human race.  Think of all the opportunities for people to do other things if we have machines vending our Big Macs... you know, like reading, thinking, innovating... too bad the very people that should benefit from the "robotic revolution" will be the same ones held down in poverty to starve.  Yep, great system we have at work here.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:38 | 4237391 toddf
toddf's picture

It's different this time

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:44 | 4237403 UH-60 Driver
UH-60 Driver's picture

Yes, I am a Pilot...but one crash and I have a J.O.B. again!!!

(transportation and material movement)

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:45 | 4237430 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Machines will soon give you the best sex you ever had, eliminating the #1 worldwide human industry. It's coming soon.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:05 | 4237506 edifice
edifice's picture

This is Pris - a basic pleasure model...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:14 | 4237545 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Can I get one that doesn't cartwheel across the floor and box my ears?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:21 | 4237987 edifice
edifice's picture

Whatsamatta, you don't like it rough?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:02 | 4238069 Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas's picture

What about a magical chrome piggy bank with marital aids stuck all over it?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:15 | 4237549 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

God bless you, Philip K. Dick!!!!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:38 | 4238658 chemystical
chemystical's picture

Sequel for the 21st C?  "Do The Puppet Masters Dream of Electric Sheople?"

Thanks for reminding me to re-read something from him.   

There are two posters herein who would likely agree with you btw: Palmer Eldritch and Timothy Archer. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:46 | 4237437 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

At least we still have guns

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:05 | 4237512 Took Red Pill
Took Red Pill's picture

Sure! You just won't be able to get ammunition;

Gov't buys up massive quantities of ammo, then closes the last plant making it. Gun control using the back door.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:55 | 4237691 DYS
DYS's picture

Did you even read that article?   It says exactly the opposite of your comment!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:13 | 4237930 Took Red Pill
Took Red Pill's picture

I read a similar article the other day. Perhaps in my haste I linked to the wrong one.  How about this;

You have to ask yourself why did the DHS purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammo,  five bullets for every person in the United States? Social Security stocked up, too. Why do they even need it? Then the only lead plant is closed. Doesn't take much to put two & two together.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:08 | 4239493 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

Price hasn't gone anywhere.   6 cents a bullet works out pretty well for a .30-06.    And I can reload plinking amm for 20 cents.     Vertically integrate yourself.  


Bullets Military Tracer 308 M62 Tracer Orange tip, no cut marks #1, tumbled-no paint, 400 meter Tracer, these tips are sold cheap because some may not light 1 1,000 $69.99 3,000 $199.0
Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:46 | 4237438 kevinearick
kevinearick's picture

Doctors, Damn Doctors, & Statistical Doctors

Look. The elevator is only going down, when it moves, because of fiscal make-work policy, and the floor numbers do not match the floors, because of the associated monetary inflation policy. History repeats for those with the insane desire to be popular, which shifts time back, for all participants in the entitlement ponzi.

Work is not popular. It is only the ongoing concern of a few, those who can make or break your life. Assume that you are always being watched, because you are.

Take the exit stairs, up. Climbing the Empire State Building is difficult, and the herd is walking down for a reason. The elevator carries the weight, if you let it.

Do not mistake popularity for talent. If you stop at a floor, you might want to know which button to push, and expect to wait, to go down. And you can only know which button to push with experience, which you probably don’t have.

To go up with certainty, push the basement button. Go all the way down and start over. That’s the cost of popularity; nothing for nothing is nothing.

You move up with work; your own anoints you; there is always a third party sent to pull the trigger, with one of your own as backup; you fall and are replaced because you accept anointment from a crowd of least common denominator compliance morons, which detests work but wants the benefits, of entitlement.


The mechanic doesn’t have to watch the watchers or the watched. All the mechanic has to do is watch you, on break, to learn the location of all the other automatons in the system, because the anointed comes around like clockwork, the newest teeth in the shark, appearing as bait. There are many reasons to act like a moron, just don’t be one.

Don’t cross a mechanic. In the first instance, you may expect to be trapped. In the second, you may expect the elevator to free fall. In the third, you may expect the building to collapse. The economic structure revolves around the generator, and the generator is not the generator legacy would like you to presume.

So, the deductible is $5k, a 65% increase, sending you back to the emergency room for another round, big surprise, when other people’s entitlements are deducted from your pay. And the lottery solution to inflate away the real estate misdirection problem is…and it creates transparency in RE property holdings how…and what are the laws driving this welfare program?

Who is running this D psychographic ponzi for the bankers anyway, how did they increase response time by an order of magnitude, and where did all the community banks go? Is it 1910 yet?

History only repeats for the majority, which avoids work like the plague, and defines work as a popularity contest to that end, forming proprietary knowledge cults for the purpose. It really doesn’t matter what others trapped in the past think. What matters is what you do to move forward. Be about your business, and let God sort out the rest.

Call it God, or call it plain old f-ing common sense; having faith is no great leap, when you are the kind stranger, experienced in faith. When you subvert your constitution to the constitution of others, you short your self out. That’s pretty f-ing self-evident. Citing a piece of paper, or its automaton representative, as an authority is like being happy with a B on a bell curve, and being surprised when you fail life.

Labor isn’t a popularity contest. Whoever has the best idea at the time it is needed is the leader, and, funny, it turns out to be the buck, who knows which 50,000 pounds to move on any given day, and moves it in advance. If you want to be an ignorant F and be led around in circles by stupid females, that’s your business,  but women have much more important things to do, and you will be run over in both directions, by Family Law.

Fear of revelation is what costs all the anxiety, prisoners dilemma. Get over it. Socialism doesn’t work, but you keep trying to make it work; labor can always use another counterweight for the elevator.

God doesn’t care how you get your sorry A up that mountain, and there are many paths down, all popular. Life sucks, if you don’t like to climb; stay home and play video games in your pajamas with NSA, and wait for your parents to die.

Monkeys typing on a keyboard don’t make decisions; people do. The trick of course is to let all the shooters shoot, until only one remains.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:17 | 4237557 BigJim
BigJim's picture

 Monkeys typing on a keyboard don’t make decisions...

No, but they make long, rambling posts

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:46 | 4237852 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

From the looks of it, maybe a Python script was poorly written.  Either that or someone is sending a coded message of some kind, in plain sight.  Here's a fun way to display a message, with word to word to word morphing for any number of words :  It's a very colorful and unique and it runs on the iPad as posited by the article.  But I don't see it putting anyone out of work, and it might be able to even grow some and put a few more people to work if made into a sharing app.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 14:20 | 4240349 kevinearick
kevinearick's picture


Thu, 12/12/2013 - 14:21 | 4240346 kevinearick
kevinearick's picture

keep shooting

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 14:57 | 4240478 kevinearick
kevinearick's picture

gotta love democracy...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:49 | 4237446 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

FYI, free markets tend toward full employment (economics 101).


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:54 | 4237478 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

See Human Action p. 136:

"There is no need to dwell upon the paradoxes of this hypothesis and to discuss the problems of such a world. Our world is different. Labor is more scarce than material factors of production. We are not dealing at this point with the problem of optimum population. We are dealing only with the fact that there are material factors of production which remain unused because the labor required is needed for the satisfaction of more urgent needs. In our world there is no abundance, but a shortage of manpower, and there are unused material factors of production, i.e. land, mineral deposits, and even plants and equipment."

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:56 | 4237483 ThisIsBob
ThisIsBob's picture

Oh, really?  How many employed men with picks and shovels does a monster steam shovel replace?  And what skills do those replaced men have to get "fully employed" again?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:10 | 4237527 aerojet
aerojet's picture

You're looking at this the wrong way.  It's up to you to figure out how to be valuable.  That's the lesson that most college grads don't figure out for a long time.  Computers aren't magic by the way, and this story is nothing short of fearmongering for the enjoyment of Boomer-age people who enjoy being scared by reading articles online.  We cannot just employ people to dig where using machinery is more efficient.  It has never worked that way, it will never work that way, even with slave labor, the machine is still superior.  The only way the machine loses superiority is if we revert back to a pre-technological era due to lack of fuel.  Even then, that reversion is unlikely. 

There's plenty to do for people who have some brains.  Always will be.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:41 | 4237648 Cast Iron Skillet
Cast Iron Skillet's picture

+100 for "It's up to you to figure out how to be valuable." - can't agree more. There is plenty to do if folks would just get off their ass and do it.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:52 | 4238682 chemystical
chemystical's picture

All animals are valuable; some are more valuable than others

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:02 | 4237723 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Oh, now you want people with brains.....  Creaping goalposts.....

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:14 | 4237963 geoffb
geoffb's picture

What is your plan for the 50% of the population with below and well below average intelligence?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:01 | 4238288 Serenity Now
Serenity Now's picture

Get rid of political correctness and stop treating half the population as an endangered species.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 14:51 | 4240457 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

They too need to figure out how to be as valuable as they can.   Intelligence is not the only factor needed to find one's way through life. 

If the concern is the top 50% will have more than the bottom 50%, sorry.   

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:40 | 4237635 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>How many employed men with picks and shovels does a monster steam shovel replace?

The more the better. Prices will drop and I am going to save a bunch of money at Walmart.

>And what skills do those replaced men have to get "fully employed" again?

I dunno. Maybe I will save enough money to have them paint each of the blades of grass on my lawn a different color. Unless it's made illegal to hire them at a wage the market can bear; then they will remain unemployed.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:03 | 4237933 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"Oh, really? How many employed men with picks and shovels does a monster steam shovel replace? And what skills do those replaced men have to get "fully employed" again?"

Bad Example. I am pretty sure the number of construction jobs have increase considerably, especially if you consider all of the new jobs created by people building and maintaining construction equipment.  The Automobile drove the Buggy whip companies out of business too. I am sure when the automobile took off, there were a lot of pissed off buggy whip workers who lost there jobs. I very much doubt that you would give up your car or your computer for increase employment. I don't think removing devices that improve automation would increase employment anyway.

"And what skills do those replaced men have to get?"

Drivers license, maybe a couple of days training on how to operate the machine. Maybe less back pain digging ditches all day. Maybe more free time? 90% of the skill jobs aren't really difficult to learn. Its not hard to learn how to use a computer. In the case of CNC versus Manual machine operator. its by far easier to become a master CNC machinist than a master manual machinist. The issue is that most Americans don't want jobs like that. If we banned Construction equipment, just how many people would choose to become ditch diggers. I think the number of construction jobs would decrease in half because no one would want to spend days digging ditches.

The real problem isn't job automation but too many people for the available pool of resources. What if the price of oil was $5 bbl and the world's population was capped around 1 Billion? There would be plenty of resources for the labor pool.  The world economy had rising wages as the price of energy fell, as soon as it started getting expensive, we saw wages and employement flatline and decline. Same thing happened in the 1970's the lead to stagflation, then high inflation. It wasn't until the price of oil declined that the economy recovered. Today the cost of oil is nearly skyhigh so people won't have the disposible income that they use to spend on things that helped grow the economy.



Thu, 12/12/2013 - 14:37 | 4240393 fallout11
fallout11's picture

No, good example actually.  Consider:

Case 1 - It is 1900 and I want a ditch dug in a day. So I hire 100 guys with shovels.
Case 2 - It is 2000 and I want a ditch dug in a day. So I hire 1 guy with a backhoe. 

Productivity improvements and labor saving technological innovations are, ultimately, about saving (read: eliminating) labor. 
In short, increasing unemployment.  Hopefully, those displaced can find something "valuable" to someone else to do, otherwise they will no longer be participating in the economy, not as producers, taxpayers, or purchasers/consumers.  But those 99 guys will certainly not be digging ditches, with or without backhoes. Supply and demand.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:01 | 4237498 yogibear
yogibear's picture

"tend toward full employment"

in lower costs countries. Now that free markets are global.

Much of stimulus was sent overseas and stimulated markets in China, Vietnam and elswhere.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:16 | 4237553 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Free markets are inventing robots and software you idiot.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:22 | 4237577 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Free markets invented the wheel, fire, the loom. the washing machine... all sorts of things that make life a lot easier... and which actually made humanity richer by doing so, despite putting people out of work at the time.

The unemployed person now probably has a higher standard of living than a factory worker 100 years ago. WHy? Because of the increased productivity of machines.

The blocks to full employment are onerous regulation and minimum wage laws.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:35 | 4238189 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

In some ways an unemployed person has a higher standard of living than a king of 200 years ago.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:05 | 4238292 Serenity Now
Serenity Now's picture

In almost EVERY way.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:22 | 4238624 Crisismode
Crisismode's picture

I believe the King had 200 servants.

Even one to wipe his butt.

And one to dress him in the morning.

And one to bathe him at night.

And one to bring him fair young maidens for screwing.

And one to pour him a cold one anytime he wanted.

And one to clip his toenails whenever they got long.

And one to massage his back whenever it got sore.


How many unemployed have that kind of service running around?



Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:18 | 4239521 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Just the pimps.

How many kings had air conditioning, central heating, electric lights, television, telephone, etc etc etc? Not to mention worry free security for life?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:51 | 4237455 MichiganMilitiaMan
MichiganMilitiaMan's picture

Financials are Low Probability?

With all the robots and algorithms front running and manipulating markets these days, I'd expect 90% probability with p<.005 for computers replacing humans in Finance.  Well except for the Fed Chairman.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:23 | 4237582 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Well sure, but think of the expanding market for financial lobbyists.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:49 | 4237459 are we there yet
are we there yet's picture

So increased efficiency is bad for employment and broken windows are good for employment? I do not buy it.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:54 | 4237471 Debugas
Debugas's picture

imagine a world with fully formed technosphere - industrial goods produced by fully automated factories interconnected to transport all raw materials and semi-materials and final products delivered straight to your door

would prices fall to zero ? No

who would buy the goods ? Those who own the factories

and what about those people with no jobs and no capital ? they all will be on food stams or dead

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:11 | 4237536 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Excess low-level labor is practically worthless, but excess educated workforce can be valuable.  When we automate something at work, we don't fire the person, we make them more effective or they move on to other work that needs to be done. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:34 | 4237623 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

"low-level labor is practically worthless"

Actually, they're completely worthless, because it's illegal to hire them (at a wage the market can bear).


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 18:55 | 4237911 Big Brother
Big Brother's picture

Good point- at my place of employment, we automated a machining cell that allowed us to allocate our workers elsewhere.  It is literally a factor of ten cheaper to run a Fanuc robot than employ an operator.  Robots don't require health care, vacation time, lunch and bathroom breaks; and are relatively low maintanence.  The operators working at the cell were reassigned.  Now we can have one operator run multiple cells instead of the other way around.  No-one was laid off.  Effectively we dramatically increased our output while lower our operating costs with a little capital investment. 

There's a good clip floating around YouTube of the joint venture Subaru-Toyota plant the produces the BRZ/FRS.  They even use robotic fork-lift drivers to find raw materials and assemly components.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 22:02 | 4238440 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"Robots don't require health care, vacation time, lunch and bathroom breaks"

They do require regular repair / replacement of parts, diagnostics & replacement with upgraded machines, and unlike humans, can't self-replicate, self-seek food/electricity, self-repair. Or adapt to new patterns of tasks (for now, genetic programming can change that) whereas a human can.

A smart business won't forget this counter-balance.

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 12:03 | 4239675 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

You think a CNC or a 3D printer cant be adapted to a new task?   LOL 

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 06:42 | 4242801 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

LOL: no.
A human can adapt it but on its own it has no self-awareness, no self-repair, no evolution upon itself.
A human body evolves ON ITS OWN (within the species) to self-improve through life, death & breeding.
A human body self-repairs.
a re-tasked 3D printer is a dead machine manipulated by a live person.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:18 | 4237569 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

Imagine a world where all the air is owned by one person.

If he doesn't sell his air, everyone would die!

I guess this justifies commiting crimes like theft.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:54 | 4237474 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

Where have you gone, Fred'rick Taylor? 

A nation turns its lonely eyes to you......


woo woo woo.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 22:16 | 4238480 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

That dude has quite a bio over at wikipedia. Good reference.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:54 | 4237479 WTFUD
WTFUD's picture

Cocksuckers like Barry can never be replaced!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:12 | 4237526 Jethro
Jethro's picture

The Chinese already have a prototype. I'm not joking. If they put a teleprompter on it, we'd have our second Manchurian Candidate.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:07 | 4237511 skank
skank's picture

Best Of Agnes - From Despicable Me

DM2 Agnes:
I know what makes you a boy . . .
Your bald head . . . it’s really smooth. Sometimes I stare at it and imagine a little chick popping out.  Peep peep peep.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:06 | 4237516 rustymason
rustymason's picture

No worries. In the Matrix there are millions of humans, all fully employed, hard at work providing the energy a growing America needs.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!